Happy Friday! Megan here.

Weather check: Perfect weekend weather, warmer next week

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This weekend, I chatted with some folks in the arts community about their thoughts on the new full-time arts coordinator position within city government. I've also got a Q&A with Sanford's Dr. Joshua Crabtree, vice president of Sanford Clinic about how you can stay healthy this upcoming cold and flu season. Then, you'll hear about United Way's upcoming campaign and an event focused on solving workforce challenges. Phew! Oh, and of course, don't miss our weekly event guide!

And now, news:


Will a city arts coordinator help ease tension between artists and the city?

Simplified: There's a sense of tension between the City of Sioux Falls a number of local artists. But recent changes to a city arts board and a new full-time employee dedicated to the arts signal an opportunity to create more open communication and a chance for the city to play more of a role in supporting local artists.

Photo by Anna Kolosyuk / Unsplash

Why it matters

  • The Sioux Falls City Council on Tuesday approved amendments to the 2024 budget to include $120,000 for a new full-time city arts coordinator. They also added an additional $150,000 to help support the work of that person in new arts initiatives.
  • Along with those changes, the city also reworked the Visual Arts Commission. It's now expanded as an Arts Commission that encompasses all forms of art.
  • The arts community has been largely supportive of the city arts coordinator position, but several have expressed concern that the new commission is largely made up of business and community leaders without requirements that these people be artists – or as Councilor Greg Neitzert called it earlier this month, a "business board with a token artist."
  • There's also lingering tension surrounding the mural on the downtown parking ramp. Instead of sticking with the established process, the city rejected the visual arts commission recommendation, said there'd be no mural, and then later changed course when artist Walter Portz presented the design now painted on the side of that building.
"We’re trying to just have faith and move forward with (the city-level changes)," said Kellen Boice, executive director of the Sioux Falls Arts Council. "It's hard because we can't see the future ... they say progress happens at the speed of trust."

What happens next?


How you can help dozens of nonprofits with one gift

This is a paid piece from Sioux Empire United Way.

Simplified: It takes as little as $5 to make a big difference in the lives of children, vulnerable adults, and people in crisis. Here's how you can help dozens of Sioux Empire nonprofits with your support of Sioux Empire United Way's 2024 fundraising campaign.

Why it matters

  • A gift to Sioux Empire United Way (SEUW) supports 1 in 3 people in our community, and donated funds impact 75 different programs in the area. This year's theme is "Funded by the United Way, Thanks to You," intended to thank the donors who ensure the success of all of these organizations.
  • That includes programs like Ready to Start, a five-week program for children who need additional services to get ready for kindergarten, as well as Active Generations Céilí Cottage Adult Day Services, which offers a new approach to dementia care.
  • Volunteers with SEUW spend more than 1,000 hours each year reviewing funding requests and tracking program outcomes to ensure your donations are used efficiently and effectively.
"We play an important role in making sure that our community is thriving and that people are receiving the resources that they need to be successful," Chief Operations Officer Christina Riss said. "You can be confident your donation is going to a need in the community."

Tell me more about Campaign Kickoff Week

Learn how you can get some fun freebies while supporting a good cause.


Need employees? Learn best practices at this workforce summit

This is a paid piece from the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

Simplified: The Sioux Falls Development Foundation WIN in Workforce Summit will bring a full day of learning, sharing best practices and inspiration on how to prepare for future workforce needs. Here's what you need to know about the upcoming event.

Why it matters

  • Sioux Falls' unemployment rate hit historic lows this year, which means there are largely more open jobs than people to fill them. That's one reason why the Foundation is working on preparing the community for the workforce of the future.
  • This year's WIN in Workforce Summit will emphasize the role of technology in workforce development, especially as the majority of workers – up to 75% – will need to improve and upscale their digital literacy in the coming years, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Foundation.
  • And, as artificial intelligence and improved technology automate more and more business operations, the summit will also explore the skills people need to succeed in a changing workforce.
"You're going to walk away with tangible, actionable items to take back to your team," Guzzetta said. "You'll also walk away with information about what is happening in some of these key economic indicators and what CEOs are paying attention to."

Tell me more about the event

See who's speaking, what you can expect and how to get tickets.


Get smart about cold and flu season with Dr. Joshua Crabtree

Dr. Joshua Crabtree is Sanford's Sioux Falls Clinic vice president. He sat down with Sioux Falls Simplified to talk about the upcoming cold and flu shots, a new COVID-19 vaccine and a classic reminder that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Answers are edited for length and clarity.

We're all about simplicity here. If you could give your advice for cold and flu season in 10 words or fewer, what would it be?

I can do it in one word: Prevention.

I wish. Really what we rely on from a system standpoint and healthcare provider standpoint, is we look to some of those larger organizations that do some of that monitoring for us.

  • The World Health Organization monitors the influenza season in the southern hemisphere in the off-season for. The WHO is monitoring the strains, how severe is the flu season, and then that really informs how prepared we should be and then also what kinds of strains that we put in our vaccine going forward.

It seems like there’s been increasing vaccine hesitancy, or at least folks are more vocal about it – have you seen an impact in recent years in terms of flu shot numbers?

I would say that a majority of people do get a flu shot every year.

  • One thing I can tell you is that because of the vocal crowd of people speaking out with vaccine hesitancy, it has created an environment where there’s been a need for more education around vaccines, their efficacy, the history around vaccination and why it has been so successful.
  • Where we didn't used to, as clinicians, have to provide as much education, I think we have to provide that education a little bit more now.

See the full interview here

Learn about what's new with this year's influenza vaccine, COVID-19 booster and a new RSV vaccine coming soon.


Stuff to do: Sept. 15-21

  • ¡Celebrar!. The first-ever Latino Festival and Parade will take place starting at 1 p.m. Sunday at Levitt at the Falls. It's a free family event presented by the South Dakota Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. More details here.
  • Get inspired. CultureCon is an annual conference focused on community, culture and camaraderie. This year's focus is "Vision in Versions" – an exploration of what's being done to make our community better. Details and tickets here.
  • B-I-N-G-O. Oakridge Nursery is hosting a Bingo in the Greenhouse event starting at 6 p.m. Friday. Get a bingo card and a drink for $10, with additional cards available for $1, and win prizes (including plants). Details here.
  • Support local artists. The first event of the Washington Pavilion's new Live & Local series kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Performers are Improv Falls and Night Shield. Details and tickets here.
  • Sample lots of beer. Beervana is back at Monk's Ale House this weekend starting at 1 p.m. Saturday. For $60, you'll get a sample cup to try as many beer samples as you'd like. Details here.
  • Chat with a councilor. Councilors Rich Merkouris and Greg Neitzert will be at the WP cafe at the Washington Pavilion from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday. Stop by and ask them anything about city government.


What I'm falling for this week:


More recent stories

Why firefighters are helping fill gaps in 911 dispatch staffing
It’s a year of big changes for Metro Communications. Here’s a look at one of the lesser-known changes coming.
What City Council added to next year’s budget (and what didn’t make the cut)
The Sioux Falls City Council approved a record high $800 million budget Tuesday night.
How the city is looking to bring back open gym
The Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation Department has a plan for bringing back open gym on the weekends now that it’s no longer available at community centers.

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Thank you

Thank you to Sioux Falls Simplified sponsors, including the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, Sioux Empire United Way, the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, Barre3 Sioux Falls, Midco, the Great Plains Zoo, the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance and Voyage Federal Credit Union. When you support them, you're also supporting Sioux Falls Simplified.